Disarmament Insight


Friday, 14 December 2007

Signing Off for 2007

The (thankfully quite uncontroversial) Meeting of States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention has just ended, bringing to a close a typically busy year of disarmament and arms control work in Geneva. In the previous posting, John Borrie reviewed 2007 as perceived and analysed through the lens of the Disarmament Insight blog. Before signing off for the year and wishing all of our dedicated readers a pleasant holiday, I would like (at the risk of ruining your festive repose) to cast an eye forward to what awaits us next year.

Of course, we'll have all of the usual fare:

  • -- The Conference on Disarmament will continue its struggle to break its now more than decade-long deadlock so that it can finally start negotiating a treaty banning the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons.
  • -- States Parties to the Biological & Toxin Weapons Convention will continue their intersessional work programme (this time by holding expert meetings on biosafety and biosecurity, as well as on codes of conduct for life scientists) and will also hold their usual annual Meeting of States Parties.
  • -- States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) will also hold their usual annual meetings on Amended Protocol II (on mines, booby traps and other devices), on Protocol V (on explosive remnants of war), and on the convention as a whole.
In addition, however, we will have some new and interesting elements thrown into the 2008 mix:
  • -- There will be a bevy of new so-called "Groups of Governmental Experts" discussing such issues as missiles, conventional ammunition stockpiles, an Arms Trade Treaty, as well as, in the context of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, discussing Protocol V on explosive remnants of war and "negotiating a proposal" to deal with the humanitarian impact of cluster munitions.
  • -- The Oslo Process on cluster munitions will hold conferences on opposite sides of the world, in Wellington (February) and Dublin (May), the latter to finish negotiating a treaty banning cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians. A signing ceremony is foreseen for Oslo in the autumn.
  • -- The second Preparatory Committee for the 2010 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty will take place in Geneva in April/May.
  • -- The third Biennial Meeting of States on the UN Programme of Action on the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons will be held in New York in July.
So, whether you work in the area of disarmament and arms control as an analyst, activist, diplomat or observer, have a nice break over the holidays. You're going to need it!

This is Disarmament Insight signing off for 2007. We will be back online early next year to bring you more alternative, out of the box (and off-the-wall) analysis of the latest developments in disarmament and arms control from a humanitarian perspective.

Until then, peace.

Patrick Mc Carthy

Photo credit: "The War on Christmas" by Cuttlefish. Retrieved from Flickr.